By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
Senior guard Charles Jenkins scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half and overtime as number 22 hit the game tying shot at the end of regulation and the game winner in overtime as the Hofstra University men's basketball team took down the College of William & Mary Tuesday night.
"This is probably the one team I've been around in all my years of playing and coaching is that our best talent is that we never give up," said head coach Mo Cassara. "This group never thinks they are going to lose the game."
William & Mary could not muster any offense early with Hofstra's 2-3 zone creating problems. Junior guard Mike Moore had the hot hand early, scoring Hofstra's first nine points on a trio of three- pointers.
"I just came out and tried to be really aggressive," said Moore. "I knew they were going to focus on Charles so it opened it up for the whole team."
Senior guard Brad Kelleher's hands were active early with two early steals that sparked the fast break.
The focus soon shifted to Jenkins, scoring six straight points, his only points of the half, as the Pride started the game on a 15-3 run in the first five and a half minutes, with all points scored by Moore and Jenkins.
William & Mary used a 11-0 run to get back into the game, finally finding a way to pick apart Hofstra's zone.
Hofstra did not register a point for almost six minutes when a three-pointer from freshman guard Shemiye McLendon broke the drought, but William & Mary was back in the game, 18-14 with 8:25 remaining in the first half.
A three-pointer from William & Mary's freshman guard Brandon Britt gave the Tribe a 22-20 lead with five and a half minute left in the first as the Pride managed to put up only five points in ten minutes.
Hofstra's rebounding woes that have plagued them all season continued as William & Mary was able to outmuscle the Pride for offensive rebounds and second chances.
A buzzer beating three from the Tribe's Matt Rum put William & Mary up 34-26 going into halftime. Moore led the Pride at the break with 13 points. Hofstra shot an abysmal 8-23 from the field in the first twenty minutes.
Hofstra's deficit grew to 13 at 39-26 after a minute and a half into the second with William and Mary continuing its great shooting.
The Pride came storming back though, using a 15-2 run fueled by Jenkins, who scored eight points during the stretch, to tie the score at 41 with 14:04 left in the game. Jenkins' red hot form continued, refusing to miss, and with another deep three-pointer, gave Hofstra a 44-41 lead.
Team's traded baskets keeping the game close, but William & Mary retook a two point lead at 51-49 with 7:29 remaining as the Tribe kept shooting well from long range.
A three from Kelleher put the Pride back up one with six minutes left. Hofstra's defense tried to slow down the Tribe's offense and found some success, disturbing shots and drawing fouls. After Moore hit two free throws, Hofstra led 58-53 with 4:56 left in the game.
A three-pointer from Moore put Hofstra up 61-55 with 4:16 remaining but yet another three from McDowell cut Hofstra's lead back to three.
A three from the Tribe's freshman guard Julien Boatner cut Hofstra's lead to 65-63, but Jenkins made one of two free throws to make it a three point game. Two free throws from Brit had Hofstra leading 66-65 with 1:12 left.
A missed three-pointer from Moore gave William & Mary the ball back with 40.2 seconds left. After a timeout, a very questionable blocking call on junior forward David Imes put Boatner on the line with 25.3 seconds left. The freshman hit both to put the Tribe up 67-66 and with 21.6 seconds left, Hofstra called a timeout to draw up a play to grab the lead.
A lay-up from Jenkins was blocked from behind and Hofstra immediately fouled. Brit hit both free throws again with 6.6 seconds left.
Hofstra called on its hero and from 25 feet out and with a defender on him, Jenkins drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 69 with 2.7 seconds left to force overtime.
"The guy who was defending me put his hands down," said Jenkins. "Me and Mike's [Moore] motto is hand down man down and once he put his hand down I had a good look at the basket and I hit it."
Hofstra took a 72-69 lead with a minute and a half gone in overtime after a one of two made free throws from Imes and a lay-up by Jenkins.
The Pride's defense went to work, shutting down the Tribe in its first three offensive possessions, grabbing a five point lead with 2:40 left. A lay-up from Quinn McDowell, who had a fantastic shooting game, and a missed goaltending call on defense, gave William & Mary new life after two made free throws cut the lead to 74-73.
One made free throw from Imes put Hofstra up two, but another three-pointer from McDowell gave the Tribe a 76-75 lead.
A lay-up from Jenkins with 32 seconds left gave Hofstra a one point lead and the captain came up big on the other end of the court, blocking a lay-up attempt from behind on Brit which was scooped up by Kelleher with 13.1 seconds left.
"The last time we played William & Mary, Brandon Brit killed me," said Jenkins. "Tonight I wanted to show him that it wasn't going to happen again and a let a freshman come in and do anything to me."
William & Mary fouled Kelleher, but the senior hit one of two, giving Hofstra a 78-76 lead with the Tribe getting the opportunity for the last shot.
A lob pass found McDowell under the basket, but freshman guard Yves Jules fouled him from behind, sending him to the line with 4.5 seconds left. The junior hit both shots, finishing the game with 28 points.
Hofstra did not call a timeout and the inbound pass to Jenkins had the senior run half the court and put up a bomb from 40 feet out and like any story book ending, he nailed it, the senior ran across the court to the quaking lion's den to be embraced by his adoring fans.
"I had four seconds to get up the court which is a lifetime," said Jenkins. "I got a good look at the basket and I made it. I like it when the Lion's Den is here, they didn't give up on us."
Moore finished the game with 25 points and Imes had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Hofstra improves to 18-9 overall and 12-4 in CAA play. With the win, Hofstra has clinched a top four spot in the conference, guaranteeing a first round bye in the CAA Tournament next month. The Pride is back in action on Saturday at Wright State University in ESPN's BracketBuster.